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  • Video
  • 5 minutes

What is language?

Updated Monday, 16 November 2020
The use of complex language sets humans apart from all other species. But what is language, where has it come from, and how does it work?

This short animated video explores the fundamental questions about the origin and function of language, and gives a quick introduction to the history and social significance of our communicative abilities.


If this piece has piqued your interest in the world of words, we have many language courses available for you to study. If you want to know more about the function and significance of language, we can particularly recommend the following courses:

Or, if you’re looking for a course to develop your skills in a language, these are some of our best options in a wide variety of languages, whether you’re a complete beginner or just a little out of practice:

These are our curated top picks, but much more can be found in the Languages section of the OpenLearn site.


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